Washington: Holding 'walking meetings' at work instead of conventional seated ones just once a week may increase the physical activity levels of white-collar workers by 10 minutes, a new study has found.
The study suggests a possible new health promotion approach to improving the health of millions of white-collar workers who spend most of their workdays sitting in chairs.
"There are limited opportunities for physical activity at work. This walking meeting pilot study provides early evidence that white-collar workers find it feasible and acceptable to convert a traditional seated meeting into a walking meeting," said Alberto J Caban-Martinez, assistant professor at the University of Miami (UM) Miller School of Medicine.
"Physical activity interventions such as the walking meeting protocol that encourage walking and raise levels of physical activity in the workplace are needed to counter the negative health effects of sedentary behaviour," Caban-Martinez said.
Participants in the study, who were white-collar workers, wore accelerometers to measure physical activity levels during the workday over a three-week period.
They also followed a "walking meeting protocol" that included guidance for leading meetings and taking notes while walking.
The average combined moderate/vigorous physical activity reported by participants increased from 107 minutes in the first week to 114 minutes in the second week and to 117 minutes in week three of the study.
"Having sedentary white-collar workers consider walking meetings feasible suggests that this intervention has the potential to positively influence the health of many individuals," said Hannah Kling, a graduate of UM's Department of Public Health Sciences.
Previous studies have proven that engaging in moderate exercise, which includes brisk walking, for as little as 15 minutes per day can add up to three years of life expectancy.
The study was published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.